Comics Features

Thursdays With Patrick: Saturday Morning Revisted

For our final installment of Thursdays With Patrick, pour yourself a bowl of Boytoons Adventures! It’s part of a nutritious breakfast and comes with a free prize inside!
All of the Boytoons Adventures can be found on the CLASS COMICS WEBSITE! Warning: Very much NOT safe for work!

We all remember Saturday mornings as a kid: a marathon of brightly-colored, fantastical elements often masquerading as advertisements. But enough about the cereal. The 1980s were a veritable renaissance of animation, featuring larger-than-life protagonists having adventures at 8 AM Central Standard Time (check your local listings). Networks used to use prime time space to tout their new seasons of cartoons, everything from Dungeons and Dragons to Gummi Bears. That same kind of spirit came back during the early days of Cartoon Network, when Genndy Tartakovsky and Craig McCracken ruled the airwaves with Dexter’s Lab and The Powerpuff Girls. With their simple lines, quick action and eye-popping palettes—a style also continued in Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars—they appealed to kids of all ages. 

Patrick Fillion remembers those days, too, and with a lot of love. That’s apparent in the pages of Boytoons Adventures, an exciting departure from Fillion’s usual style.  Drawing under the name Bryce Peters, Fillion replaces his flowing curves with thick, solid, angular lines. The ultra-sculpted anatomy is replaced by impressionistic bodies more concerned with bulk than detail. The usual villainous antagonists are replaced by…a horny grandma? (Well, sort of.)

Watch out, Diablo! She’s taken her Geritol!

Fillion’s titles have always had a bit of playfulness in them, even the relatively darker adventures of Deimos. Here, Fillion lets that spirit run free and untethered, and the result is a much different (but no less enjoyable) experience. By adopting the Bryce Peters style and both simplifying and exaggerating the images, Fillion makes all of the escapades contained in the books seem whimsical and innocent…even when they’re just as naughty as the rest of the Class Comics line, if not more so.

The Bryce Peters style is a mix of the Tartakovsky/McCracken art deco-on-caffeine-inspired design, along with a healthy dose of manga artistry and sensibility. Certainly, it has the giddy outrageousness of a lot of manga and anime. That shouldn’t imply that the series is a total lark. While Fillion does poke some subtle fun at himself, all the adventures contained within are considered canonical, and the episodes progress the plot of their characters’ stories in significant ways. In some cases, the scenes are actually MORE intense than the ones in the other books, but the style makes them all seem much more light-hearted than they really are.

Zahn faces another light-hearted challenge.

That’s sort of the whole point of the series. Fillion here seems completely unrestrained, even more so than in his usual titles. The sex violates even more laws of physics here, and the characters seem possessed of a quicker, sprightlier pace. The action sequences seem lighter and faster, and the simpler lines make perspective and movement take primary emphasis, the action dictating the frame and not the characters. It adds a new dynamic to the way scenes unfold, a constant movement that propels the stories forward effortlessly.

Divided into 6 episodes in total, Boytoons Adventures is even structured like episodes of a Saturday morning cartoon. It’s highly reminiscent of the Super Sunday show that introduced both Jem and Inhumanoids in 10-minute blocks. Each episode is completely self-contained, even though it fits into each character’s overall arc, and it’s very easy to imagine commercials in-between them. Maybe for the new series of Camili-Cat action figures? Or maybe Locus O’s…fortified with vitamins and minerals and accompanied by sweet green marshmallows?

OK, OK! No marshmallows.

Yes, Cam and Locus both show up within the pages. So do Ghost Boy, Diablo, Zahn and the fightin’ frat boys of The Initiation, the series written by Fillion’s partner Robert Fraser. Fillion even introduces a brand new character, Mako Finn, defender of the world’s sharks. He’s an excellent example of the “message characters” that often showed up as guest stars in 1980s cartoons, but he’s intriguing enough to deserve his own series.   

In fact, despite all the light-heartedness of the titles, there are a number of rather poignant moments. Ghost Boy encounters the ghost of a man who never admitted in life that he was gay and is now an unrestful spirit. Cam’s story resolves itself with a very touching moment involving his troubled past. Even the end of Locus’ arachnophobic adventure has a sweet final panel, preceded of course by something much spicier.

Swimming with sharks.

Like the cereal we used to inhale in front of the TV, Boytoons Adventures is a delicious sugar rush of a title, but without the inevitable crash. And although I haven’t tried (I don’t want to get my MacBook wet), I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t turn your milk odd colors. Don’t let the cartoony style fool you: these books are just as full of Fillion as everything else he does, and they’re just as enjoyable.

Saturday morning never looked so good.

And now that you’ve eaten down to the bottom of the cereal box (unless of course you cheated and dug down to the bottom you cheating cheater), here’s a special surprise for you: a review of the controversial new Camili-Cat comic, Changes!

Extreme makeover: Cam edition.

It’s very common for comic heroes to change their looks, powers and their costumes over time, sometimes even their ethnicities (and if you’re Psylocke, all of those at once). Like any well-storied character, Cam gets a new look in a novel way: boarded by the demented Sektan scientist Doctor Pupae, Cam is subject to a twisted experiment that actually alters his DNA. When he emerges, he’s a whole new cat. His body hair is more pronounced, his face looks older and more cat-like, and he gets…well, he gets some work done. Well just leave it at that. Of course, Pupae has to test out Cam’s new, nigh-indestructible body with his own Frakenstein-esque creations.

Fillion is very clever about how he introduces Cam’s new look. Like how Cam’s title is a response to space opera, Changes is Fillion’s commentary on the constantly changing appearances of many comic heroes. The plot of the comic helps to advance both Cam and Locus’ stories, and the change doesn’t seem arbitrary or frivolous (again, looking at YOU, Psylocke). In fact, it’s rather exciting, and it opens a whole new avenue for Cam’s adventures with his new, more-mature look. It’s very reminiscent of the return of Rachel Summers to Excalibur in the red-and-gold Dark Phoenix costume (“Don’t worry! Green’s just not my color.”)  It’s a tightly packed title with a whole lot of exciting images to take in, and the artwork is (of course) gorgeous.

Your humble scribe here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your “Thursdays With Patrick” as much as I have. I had to do so much grueling research. I mean, it was just torture to spend hours reading and re-reading (and re-re-reading) exquisitely-drawn comics featuring impossibly sexy heroes doing things that violate the laws of physics, nature and the state of Utah. But this is the price one pays when one signs over his life in service to the Fanboys. I do it all for you, dear readers! Until Naked Justice starts wearing underwear in public…make mine Class Comics

JOHNNY M is a frequent FBOTU contributor and goes great with scrambled eggs and toast.<a href="; title="imageimage